The Bottom Line on YouTube

After FoxSoccer.com, our family’s favorite video website is YouTube. The kids watch Taylor Swift music videos, Lego Star Wars and Nyan Cat.  I looked up the lattice method on YouTube to help with homework. We even use YouTube to expand our kids’ cultural horizons.  One Friday,we all sat around looking up “cheesy 80’s videos”. The kids fell off the couch laughing at Lionel Richie’s Hello surprise ending and Ah-ha’s Take on Me graphics. These classic videos are lost on the iGeneration.

YouTube is not just for watching cheesy videos. Kids are creating channels and posting their own videos. According to Quantcast, YouTube is the 3rd most popular website and 26% of its users are under age 18. With a smartphone, kids can easily shoot a video and post it in a matter of minutes.  Fans of their channel can become Subscribers and/or Friends. Unfortunately, easy sharing can sometimes lead to over sharing. So if you are living with a future film director here is the Bottom Line on YouTube:

  • YouTube channels are free but users should be over 13.
  • All YouTube channels are public but individual videos can be shared privately.
  • YouTube does not require real names.
  • YouTube does require an email address.  Channels can be searched using this address.  This function can be disabled in the “Account Settings” under the “Privacy” button. Many users set up an email account just for YouTube.
  •  YouTube channels can connect with Facebook, Twitter, Reader, Orkut and MySpace. Kids should not link up sites.
  • Kids can  connect with their fans by allowing other YouTube users to Friend or Subscribe to their channel. Anyone can subscribe to a channel but friends must be approved.
  • By default, YouTube allows all users to comment. This setting can be changed from everyone to a more limited audience such as only friends or allowing only approved comments.
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